Tuesday, October 11, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Control of the U.S. Senate

With less than four weeks until election day, control of

the U.S. senate, appears to be settled by ten races

in Washington state, Nevada. Colorado, Arizona,

Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire,

North Carolina and Georgia.

Senate races in Vermont and Florida, thought to be

toss-ups at the outset of the cycle, seem likely from

latest polls and observations on the ground to have 

Democrat Peter Welch in Vermont and Republican

incumbent Senator Marco Rubio in Florida with 

solid leads.

The previously mentioned ten, however, are toss-ups

with only small poll differences within a true margin of

error. [NOTE: Margins of error published by the 

politers are almost always undrerstated. Current 

polling conditions have changed the percentages

of these margins substantially.)

Republican senate candidates have small leads in 

Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina.

Democratic senate candidates have small leads in

Washington state, Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania,

New Hampshire and Georgia. Some of these races

were not close even recently, including  Washington

state, Colorado, Arizona and Pennsylvania, but have

tightened considerably in recent weeks. Because

these the Democratic candidate leads in these four

have narrowed, Republicans are increasingly

optimistic that that an earlier predicted red wave 

might yet happen.

On the other hand, three of those four, Washington state, 

Colorado, and Arizona, have well-funded Democratic

incumbents running, and potential GOP pick-ups of these

seats is an uphill battle. Pennsylvania, is an open seat

now held by Republican Senator Pat Toomey who is

retiring. The Democratic nominee John Fetterman has

seen his once double-digit lead collapse to a virtual tie

in his contest with celebrity physician Mehmet Oz.

Republicans have asserted that most polls undermeasure

conservative voters (presidential polls in 2016 and 2020

clearly did so), so they are particularly optimistic about

Adam Laxalt in Nevada, incumbent Senator Ron Johnson

in Wisconsin, J.D. Vance in Ohio, and Ted Budd in North

Carolina this cycle.

Democrats, however, are optimistic about Senator Maggie 

Hassan in New Hampshire and Senator Ralph Warnock

in Georgia where the incumbents are considerably 

outspending their GOP challengers.

In fact, several of these contests which are in relatively

small states are seeing huge campaign expenditures by

candidates and PACs supporting them. Arizona, Nevada,

Wisconsin and Georgia are examples of this outsized


President Biden and former President Trump have been

campaigning for their party’s candidates in many of these 

races, and numerous pundits, political strategists and

others will be looking for implications of their efforts in the

final results.

Although the current U.S. senate is divided between the

two major parties by a 50-50 tie, Democrats control it

through the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamal

Harris. That most narrow majority is at stake in the

national 2022 midterm elections, and it is conceivable

that another tie would result, or that either party would 

have a fragile 51-49 majority. With the vice president still 

presiding in 2023, Republicans are looking to pick up

2-4 seats in November — but such an outcome with less

than four weeks to go is speculative and in the hands of

the voters.


Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


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